Monday, July 28, 2014

"thanks therapy…"





Stable Mabel was ushered out into the world from the cancer clinic, the week before last, with much fanfare and a cake.  A scrumptious strawberry covered white cake and the singing of happy birthday, by her nurses. 

So she sat, choking back tears, at the surprise, and the thoughtfulness, she thought it quite possibly the most memorable moment of turning 47.  

 No follow-up visits with this doctor on the horizon.  She knows how busy he is.  Every time she goes to schedule a visit, she is reminded her doctors are very busy.  

And yet, she wonders?  The brain MRI coming up, she thought they had talked about?  The three "punctuates" on her brain being followed?  Off the radar for now it seems.  Her head swirls, trying to absorb the changes.

So with no doctor visits on the near horizon, she was being cheered out the door, down the hallway and out into the world.  The normal world.  

"Enjoy!"  "Be Well!"  "Have Fun!"

And she wants to… 

But her tears surprise her, betray her...

What she has such a hard time putting into words?  Is that cancer world feels normal to her now.  She eats, breathes, sleeps, lives, cancer.  She's had to.  She's been all in- all the way in- fighting for her life.

And it hasn't left her.  That cancer.  She's had to learn to live with it.  She has tried to sit side by side with it.  Knocking it back, just not quite knocking it out.  

Cancer hasn't lessened.  

The burdens haven't lessened.

The fear, the worry, the endless heartache… hasn't lessened.  

Nothing has really changed.

Being thrust back out into the world?  Feels scary.  Where are those training wheels?  

How do you turn your world right side back up- when you've been living with it upside down for so long?

All of those things that got dropped?  The things you didn't do.  The parts of a normal day that slipped from your grasp… what were they again?  

How do you begin again?  

What is "normal" now? 

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


I've spent the last week, still, and quiet, reflective… reading, praying.  

"Its not about me." 


This much I know is true. 


So when I don't know where to begin?  I go back to gratitude.  Thanks-giving and thanks-living have never left my side.


And I read… back to Ann… because Voskamp breathes the depths of grace and gratitude.

"But gratitude is a magnet, attracting filings of goodness out of the expanse of the past."

"Authentic thanks in all things is possible because our God is a God kneading all things together into a bread that sustains."

"When we stop seeing reasons to give thanks, we stop thinking there are reasons to live."
"When we don’t focus on what we can thank God for, we can’t focus on living for God."
"Giving thanks can help us want to take —
the next breath."
"The therapy is in the thanks."
"Thanks therapy is God’s prescription for joy."


Counting my gifts…  "Thanks Therapy." 

-spending a whole day with my mom out running errands and seeing joy fill her face.

-the ability to say I've walked 2.37 miles.

-being asked to speak and share my story again.  

-spending a hot Saturday at the lake with wonder-full friends.  

-remembering to let go… to trust the process.

-curling up with Crosby, constantly by my side.

-watching my wound heal, bit by bit.

-being asked to sit by the campfire with my Bubba because I'm his favorite mom…

-learning to embrace a new normal again

gratitude = training wheels.  





27 comments:

  1. "embracing a new normal"….i do like how that sounds and i wish for you the best of luck. so chuck those training wheels to the side. shoulders back…and strut girl. just strut it out!!!.xo

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    1. Well- when you say it like that- how can I refuse? Dang girl- you give the best visuals!

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  2. Knowing that God has a plan and we thank Him for it daily. It's hard when it isn't something that we want, or a thing that anyone could want like cancer. Blessings...and I hope you can enjoy this summer.

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    1. Thats the beauty in it, right? In remembering to thank, even when its hard- maybe especially when its hard. I am enjoying my summer- thank you- I pray that you are as well!

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  3. Oh, this is surreal because I was going to post something so similar to this later this week. I know you saw my blog post about accepting a job. I've had so much fear attached to that decision - fear of moving on and what if, etc. It's hard to move forward! The return to Ann Voskamp's book is a good one and always such a great reminder. Praying as you make decisions!

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    1. Thanks Melissa- we do have this uncanny way of being so far away and yet so close together in the journeys of our lives. I feel so lucky to know you get what I am saying- even though we both agree we dislike what makes us know… excited to hear about the new job!

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  4. Oh my sweet friend,
    "Thanks therapy is God's prescription for JOY!" I just love that. After a time where crisis and not knowing and not being sure and having life turned upside down sits in our throats and is part of our daily way of life, a respit from the storm can feel a tiny bit odd. The old normal is replaced with a big splash of gratitude followed by a tiny dash of worry. And questions: What now? Do I ask more questions about these tests? How do I pick up on life as it was? Do I use this blessing, this time out, in creating new parts of my life?

    The "new normal" allows us to breathe again, breathe more fully. Stable. And here has been the key to my peace of mind in stable and unsure times...He is ALWAYS there. In the midst of the storms and the midst of the calms, God Almighty loves me (and you, precious Vicky) and He is there. He is there as I adjust to less worry and smile more. He is there to celebrate "stable" for as long as it lasts. And He knows when we are a little shaky and need training wheels. He will see us through it ALL. Knowing He is there helps me to relax into the new calm and new normal.

    Sending you love and peace and gratitude and prayers, always prayers. Thank you for sharing from your deepest heart.
    Love you to the moon and back!
    Linda

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    1. I rest so peacefully in your words- I've come back to these, and so many others and garner such strength. Thank you friend! "Amen" to everything you have said- and exactly the way you have said it. Love you sweet one!

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  5. You don't need training wheels, girl. You already know how to live. Now go back out there and do it :-)

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    1. Hehe- I wouldn't expect you to say it any different! Going…

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  6. I think of you so often, and about what life gives us to carry. I pray for you, and envision good things in your path. I do one day at a time, because it's all I can do, and I know, and understand, how that is for you, too. Different, but so much the same, because pain and fear and the unknown, are all friends.

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    1. That last line Hilary- "because pain and fear and the unknown, are all friends." Such wisdom and truth in that. And the only way is just today, just right now, just here. Thinking of you too Hilary!

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  7. It is at time like these that I remember the following quote.

    "As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world." ~Terri Guillemets

    It reminds me to take just one day at a time and enjoy these 86,400 seconds that God gave me today.

    Always thinking of you and saying prayers for you, dear friend. Sending along love and hugs.

    Eileen

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    1. I had such a time with my comments working yesterday- I see I never got this one to go through :) I love Terri Guillemets' quotes and this one is exquisite Eileen. "The breaking of the sun over the horizon"… love the imagery and all the quote entails. Thankful for your prayers and how much they uplift me Eileen! Hugs and love to you dear one!

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  8. Your gentle wisdom and presence have surely brought you to this place of 'a new normal'. It will take some adjustment, but my guess is that you are being nudged that it is now the right time to think beyond the realm of cancer - and thereby signalling your being that while you have been dealing with this disease you are not it, nor defined by it.

    Enjoy the rest of the summer dear Vicky. Big hug.

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    1. Time to "become," perhaps? I love that idea of a "nudge," yes, I think that is very insightful. I am enjoying summer immensely- every drop of it! Big hug back to you Bonnie.

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  9. Several years ago I kept a journal of gratitude. I wrote down the events and things in the day that I was thankful for. My life was full and the blessings were exponential. This post reminds me to 'get back to it'.

    With gratitude for the reminder...

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    1. Oh Kass- I can only imagine what your journal would contain! Gratitude truly helps me live my moments full. I notice more, feel more, enjoy more when I am intentional in how I view things. I hope it brings you much fullness of blessings once again!

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  10. Love, love, love the creativity (and hope and joy and love and spirit) of this post. I especially adore the way you so bravely opened in third person with our Stable Mable and then expertly moved into first person!! Brilliant--just brilliant!

    So much love and a sending you a big hug!

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    1. Julie- I have to tell you, I don't "know" writing in the ways that you do. I have no idea sometimes the tools of the craft I use. So thank you for teaching me that! Its an honor to have your precious insights here! Much love and hugs to you!

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  11. Oh My..there was so much in this post! No wonder you sat back and contemplated all week! a Friend of my mom's who is approx your age. found out she had breast cancer in 2013. she had a double mastecomy done. Due to the fact both maternal grandma's had passed away due to breast cancer. It was a aggressive kind because she found the lump on a self exam 6 months after her mammogram. Before this was done she told me..".I don't want to touch it I want to get it out". for her they got it all! When you said, "she has learned to try to sit side by side it"...it stole my breath away. Yes, you have mentioned this in other post...but it hit home in a different way. To embrace something mentally takes all we have...it becomes the new norm...to let go of it...just even a little, would put ones world then into a tail spin. 'To be doing" keeps the fight right there/ all the doctors appointments scans etc's.. this is tangiable... to then all of a sudden have a shift... "go enjoy your summer" is now a thing that would bring worry, concern...for the cancer is not gone...it is stable. In many parts of our lives..we have control, we can do this or that...we can have choice's but to wrap ones mind around cancer...and the total 'lack of control" that is huge! no wonder you had all those emotions! Maybe just maybe the lord new...you needed a bit of "down time from fighting, a moment to breath, a summer to enjoy...before the cold season is upon us again...maybe the Lord is saying "rest in my arms Vicky....this is a gift from me to you..that you don't have all these appointments so you have time to live love and laugh with your family..and because time with your mom is so important. Relax and enjoy..he will keep you "stable mable". He will allow you and the doctors to know...when the next appointment or scan should be... enjoy this shift, ALL SHALL BE WELL! much love and prayers beautiful Lady!

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    1. Thank you, Peggy Sue, for stepping into my world and immersing yourself as much as you do - such a gift! After pondering some more, I think what I realize is that I don't want to let my guard down to the point that I could get blindsided again if it shows up in new places. Hence, the training wheels. Slowly I go, wading my way in carefully- wanting to feel comfortable, but also wanting to be ready to spring back into "fight" mode if need be. Thanks for your words of faith and comfort!! Love to you dear one!

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  12. Thankful for my husband. Thankful that the trials I face, I face with such a steady good fun strong attentive loving man. Thankful I live and am pretty healthy. Thankful for these 3 weeks of house sitting where I can enjoy a beautiful porch in the morning and a wonderful pool in the afternoon. I am grateful for the things God has put on my heart, like marriage ministry. I am grateful we tend to connect with teens who could use a smile, hug, attention and time. I am thankful for being a creator with words and photos. Grateful that I have God to begin with, so many are without. And in today's pain, God shows me there is more than my pain, there is Hope and when He fills me with that amidst pain, that is the biggest gifts of all.

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    1. Beautiful Maddy Christine!! Oh gosh- that is so poetic and filled with such gratitude and love! Thank you for taking the time to share that with me, with all of us!

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  13. Vicky, I think that one of the things that makes your writing so compelling is that you are really speaking things that all of us have experienced in some form or another. We might not have taken time to reflect as deeply as you, or not felt we needed to, but we experience our own lives in your "less than normal" life which really is quite normal after all. We are with you. We've never left. And we feel just as out of sorts with what is before us as you. Thank God we have each other. Even the reflective, wondering times teach us something. XXOO

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    1. Such solid, good advice, Roxane. And I do think we all have been through these times and simply call them by other names- but they do universally unite us- so true! Thank you for your perspective, I always appreciate the thought and reflection in your words. Hugs friend!

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  14. All I know is that you are the most exquisite writer. Truly. Keep writing and keep focussed on who you are and your beautiful family. I know that you would be happy for Stable Mable to hang round a while. Give her a really good summer, show her what fun is and she will hang around a long time. Much love to you. You are a beautiful human being who inspires many people all over the world not just in your local community.

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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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