Friday, September 26, 2014

How can I?





I've poured out all the words I can muster into my presentation for next Thursday.  I'm just trying to polish it up and keep it flowing through my head.  

Tuesday is my MRI.  


And Wednesday?  A surprise is coming… and you won't want to miss… oh my stars… just wait till you see… 

In the meantimes it's Moorhead's Homecoming parade and game tonight, and then we dash off to the cities for some hockey.  


So I thought I'd start preparing for next week early.

How can I pray for you?


 Tuesday,  I go in for sedation, and then have my MRI test.  Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email- address is in my profile.  

Shifting my focus off of me, and onto others is such a great reminder its not about me- um because its not.  

Have a wonderful weekend!  















Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"one great thing…"


I've been living my moments so full-y, lately.  When Dr. Panwalkar asked how I was doing with fatigue?  I said, fatigue?  I don't think I have very much these days.  What I really have is just plain being worn out at the end of a busy day.  

Plus, my secret weapon?  

My mailbox.  

Here is a small sample and my way of saying an instant "Thank you." 

A great book, a bookmark that I begin to breathe in the second I lay eyes on it,  and a beautiful card.  So thankful, Tammy- truly blessed by you!





This card?  Made me smile and then went straight to my heart as well.  Thank you Cindy!  Thankful for the support and love, always. 




The letter below was addressed to the boys.  Nolan was away for hockey, but Colton was home and tore right into it.  I should have grabbed my camera- the wild shouting and jumping up and down were a sight.  But then I read the beautiful letter, from an anonymous "heart" friend.  And oh… someone knows my boys so well!  The words of the letter were all gift to me.  And… it just so happens my Dad's birthday was September 19th… and so the words helped remind me of the legacy of my Dad, living on in his grandchildren.  

The generous gift cards to our favorite hockey store, will be such a big help to our family!  The boys are trying to figure out who could have sent them something so perfect!  

I just know, how much my heart soars, every time I see these.

Thank you, anonymous friend.  Your name be unknown to us, but we feel your heart! 



This little guy is called "Bluey."  He was a gift from Colton's Grandma Carole.  Bluey still has a coveted spot on Colton's bed.  And the bracelet?  Is the hockey-skate-lace bracelet made by my friend and sold on my blog as a fundraiser once long ago.  





So when Colton was asked to do a time capsule for his Social Studies Class, he chose Bluey to bring along, unafraid to share his love for a blanket/animal his late grandmother had gotten for him.  He also brought a pink bracelet, that signifies my living with breast cancer.  This is what he wanted his class full of friends to know about what mattered in his life.  And then I read the last few lines of what he would read to his class…

"That I love my family because "they're" always there for me.  I also want everyone to know about me-I'm a hard worker and I never give up."

… with misty eyes, I give him a quick hug as he leaves for school.  That one, so dearly entrenched in my heart.  






As I sit composing, a knock on the door and look what walks right in!  A beautiful cross and a sweet card filled with understanding and encouragement. Thank you Jennifer! 

"Let Peace Surround You."  Amen.


I have a couple of busy weeks ahead.  Don't we all?  If I am quiet, know that I am simply trying to pour out, all of what you give me, in a way that pays forward the blessings I feel.  

Speeches to write, talks to give, and emptying so I may fill with his Grace.  



“I don't believe there is one great thing I was made to do in this world. I believe there is one great God I was made to glorify. And there will be many ways, even a million little ways, I will declare his glory with my life.” 
― Emily P. FreemanA Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live












Thursday, September 18, 2014

becoming


"… In Union with Me, you are complete.  In closeness to Me, you are transformed more and more into the one I designed you to be…"  Jesus Calling~ by Sarah Young



As I sit throwing pictures into folders on my desktop, I look again at the golden goodness pics from a few days back.  The dog has been circling this tree all week.  I finally had to go and look at it. And there it is.  The one bright, red, leaf, daring to stand out alone, against a background of gold.  How does that happen? I'm pondering as I ready for my speech coming up on October 2nd.


Its been a couple of months since I've seen Dr. Panwalkar.  Yesterday, he strode into the exam room with a warm smile, yet instead of shaking hands and saying a big hello, he sat down right away.

He started getting the images from my scan to display on his computer.  There was the scan from nearly a year ago, that he was trying to align with the most recent scan I had.  We went through section after section, as he carefully tried to explain, both what he saw, and what the radiologist had reported.

It was a confluence of possible radiation scars, possible pneumonitis, and possible residual cancer.

When Dr. P started to ask me when it was that I had radiation to my lungs, I had to admit to him, I'm sketchy with dates of events like this, these days.  Not because I can't remember, rather, I've chosen not to hang on to it in too much detail.  I told him I understand I am purposefully in a bit of denial.  But he assures me "that's good," and I do see he is smiling, amused, when he says that.

Part of me wonders, if he too, lets go of trying to remember all he and I have gone through?

I like the sudden clarity I've gained.  I worry I forget things, because my memory is failing me.  Maybe it is.  But, maybe some of those things just aren't necessary to hang onto.


The decision to grow always involves 
a choice between risk and comfort.
—John Ortberg


My word this year, "become," is starting to make sense in some ways.  Like, "Becoming" less entangled with the advanced cancer that I have.  Who would have ever thought that?

So we turn back to my scans, layer by layer.  And I can't even relay to you his exact words. The harder he worked at aligning the scans, the more fussy they became.    But in a nutshell?  


A few spots seem to be the same and we will continue to watch them.

Two spots, seem to have disappeared, altogether.

And no new spots seem to have appeared from my neck down, in my lungs, my back, my liver, my kidneys, or any other place from what we can see on the PET scan.

I'm stable.

Still stable.

Still Mabel.

Still grateful! 


Still … we can't ignore the other part we haven't examined yet.  My brain.  So I mention to Dr. P I was released by Dr. Foster and I am completely back under his care.  I see the surprise register in his face, as he quickly begins searching my file online.   He reads quietly about my 3 little spots for the longest time.  "You need an MRI," he says, "we'll work on getting you in next week." 


He is quiet.  Absorbed in thought.  I had so many things I had wanted to share with him.  But  I oddly have very little to say to him now.  I also have no burning desire to know too much.  He suddenly glances up, smiles, and asks if I am ready for infusion? 

I am.


We'll continue on with the same treatment, with blood work and tumor markers checked more frequently.  



He quietly ushers me out the door and into the infusion waiting room, he smiles and nods at me as I go to sit down, and he goes back to his office.



"In closeness to Me you are transformed more and more into the one I designed you to be."


I think of that bright red leaf, daring so greatly. 

Maybe this is me becoming… all I am designed to be. 












Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Chemo day










Every time I sit down to write a bit, it seems, I am jumping up to take care of something else.  After the weather went all kinds of crazy cold on us, threatening to bring winter ahead of fall, warmer temps arrived again today.  

So I've been sneaking outside with the dog, trying to figure out how to preserve a little bit of the warmth and brightness of the sun to feast on in the darkest corners of winter. 

My mom had a rough week last week.  Nolan and I surprised her with a visit early in the week, and all seemed well.  The week before we took her to the dentist to have a tooth pulled, but she seemed to be healing well and had no discomfort in her mouth.  But then, a long series of events occurred, that ultimately led to a fall the other day.  While physically she assured us she was fine, it was her raw emotions that stayed with me.  That nagging voice kept at me, no matter the assurances she gave.

Friday night I called to tell mom, that Rick was home, and we were coming to visit.  But she didn't answer.  For hours upon hours, she didn't answer her phone.  

By 10 pm,  long after we would usually have heard from her, I was starting to rapidly grow concerned.

What if she had fallen again?  What if she went for a walk outside and lost her bearings?  What if….?  

Rick, long exhausted from his 18 hour drive back from Idaho, was a trooper and got on the phone with Bethany Towers.   Could they please locate her?  

Our concern grew as they failed to establish her whereabouts.  Where could she be?  They kept saying, "oh she is probably down in the community room,  or in the dining room, etc., we could have her call when she comes back?"

Our last call to the switchboard and Rick, firmly, but politely refused to get off the phone until they found her.  As I dressed, getting ready to get in the car, he carefully explained our concern with her fall, and that her not answering her phone was not typical.  

Finally, they dispatched several people to set off on a search for her.  

Then the call came- she had been found!

She was in the room across from hers, gaining some emotional support from her friend.  The two women had lost track of time.  

Saturday we had a busy day with hockey, a birthday party, a bon fire with friends.  But I called several times to talk with mom.  Then mom tried calling us, and I answered as she hung up.  When I dialed her back, the phone was busy for a long time.  It was after we got home from the bonfire I called her again.

  It was then that she told us she had been sent to the Emergency Room because of her fall, and when I didn't answer, her sister came and took her. She has some bruised ribs and pain.  But, no fractures fortunately. 

I have so many questions?  Why two days later?  Why not the day of her fall?  What protocol for falls do I not know?  

We've had such excellent care at Bethany.  What just happened this past week?  

Rick and I will be going in to talk with the director.  

We went and spent a long time with her yesterday.  Her spirits are lifting, but she remains cautious and worries about the course of events.  

But first, I have Dr. Panwalkar this morning where we will discuss my PET scan results, then I will have chemo.  

~All shall be well~







Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Waiting...


"Soundlessly, relentlessly praying through your spaces of brokenness makes the heart bigger, until you hold the gift of God alone. " Ann Voskamp

I keep a little notebook that I use to record thank you notes to write and send.  I try to either send a note, an email, or take a quick photo so that you see I received the beautiful items so many send my way.  As I go to update my list, I see how terribly behind I am in writing thank you notes, however.  How did I get so behind in the everyday things I used to do?

My PET scan went fine on Monday.  I did get a bad headache, most likely from not being able to eat or drink anything all morning.  But as I sat in the darkened room, in the recliner, after being injected with the radioactive tracer, I kept hearing the constant buzz of my phone vibrating.  Each time it did, I envisioned all of you, praying for me.  I was completely alone in that room, but only physically.  Spiritually, I couldn't have felt more connected and comforted and deeply grateful. I thought of Ann's words… "relentlessly praying through your spaces of brokenness makes the heart bigger…"  Amen. 

So when will I receive my results?

Ummmmm.  I don't know.

I have an appointment with Dr. Panwalkar and infusion, next Tuesday and I suspect it will be then that we will go over everything.  And no.  I don't read into whether he calls, or not.  I don't feel the need to call him either.  

In His perfect timing, I will know.

My thinking on so many things has flipped.  At one time, I would have wanted to know test results right away.  As quickly as possible.  

Now?   The little bubble of "I am doing just fine," is a good place to hang out.  

HE has this. 

"… relentlessly praying… until you hold the gift of God alone."  

I will provide an update, as soon as I've discussed results with Dr. P.

Love to you all~ 












Friday, September 5, 2014

Summerlicious...


“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” 
― Anne FrankThe Diary of a Young Girl

I really need to go back and read this book.  I'm finding new meaning in a story this isn't new.  


I love using Picmonkey to play with my photos.  Their site has been in summerlicious mode and I am just not ready to face it changing to something else.  

My Fitbit has been leading me off on adventures every day and I am breathing in all the summer I can.




Monarchs just dance from flower to flower in this garden.  I could stand and watch for long periods of time.  I even saw a hummingbird hovering in the center part. 


I'm discovering nature is such a good teacher.  As I watched the ornamental grass blowing in the wind I noticed right in the middle of it two purple flowers managing to use the grass to wrap around so they could reach the sunlight and bloom.  


The leaves tell a bit of a changing story as some reds fill in amongst the green. 



Just across from my path is the Red river which is really brown and muddy in color. I love how the trees have grown up around it, framing it in this way.


As I walked down near the river a bit, I stumbled across this home made swing.  




After Rick, and both boys got through with a nasty summer cold, it seems to have finally gripped me.  I've been laying low and seem to have the worst of it behind me. 

Rick leaves for Idaho for a week on Sunday.

Monday I will have my PET scan to gain a clearer picture of what the heck my cancer has been up to, from my chest down.  

I'd be so honored to have your prayers for Monday, and for me to be able to face whatever news awaits me.  










Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"… not as much runway as we think…"

“I want to go barefoot because it’s holy ground; I want to be running because time is short and none of us has as much runway as we think we do; and I want it to be a fight because that’s where we can make a difference. That’s what love does.”   Bob Goff, "Love Does" 



At the beginning of this summer Superman happened to hear that Daughtry was coming to town and opening for The Goo Goo Dolls.  It was going to be at Bluestem, an outdoor amphitheater not far from our house.  Did we want to go?  

Without trying to think it through too much, yes I wanted to go.  I also wanted to take the boys.  I loved the idea of doing something new to us, to celebrate the end of summer.  The tickets clung to our fridge all summer long and the boys hadn't a clue.

Sunday, the day of the concert, the rain had drenched the ground the night before.  But a few hours before the time to leave, the clouds were parting and the sun was streaming through.  It was a perfect night for an outdoor concert.  The boys were curious about what we were doing, but merely going along with us, as we hadn't given them a choice.

We parked near a friend's house, and then watched- wide-eyed as cars snaked all the way down and around for what seemed like miles.  We grabbed our blankets and were only too happy to hike in.  

While we didn't purchase seating, we still felt like we had a great view from the lawn on the side.  Plus, it helped me cope with my port, which vibrated so hard in my chest for the longest time, but eventually I grew used to it.

As the crowds filled in, the boys were wide eyed.  When the music first started they were surprised by how loud it was. It also registered on their face when they first noticed how much everyone moved, swayed, and danced to the music.  









It was such a great concert!  We laughed so much when one of the singers exclaimed "I just ate a bug!"  That is so Minnesota-like.  

By the end of the night- the boys had seen a lot.  Plus we had also been able to watch them, mouth the words, bounce their legs, and become totally engaged with the whole concert experience.  

Nolan even put a post out on social media saying he was having a GREAT time, although his sometimes serious expression didn't always show it.  

Afterwards, as we got back on the gravel road going back to our car, we realized how dark it was.  But somewhere along the trek back, my fitbit vibrated and lit up in a big way.  I was so surprised and couldn't for the life of me figure out why- it was only my second day of wearing it.

Apparently, my dance moves were more than sufficient to both warrant 43 very active minutes, but I had hit my 10,000 steps for the day!  




Today I am back in the normal and more sedate number of steps- in the low thousands as of yet.  But every time I check and see I've had some quiet minutes strung together, it does motivate me to get up and move.  I'm enjoy the whole Fitbit process so far and can't wait to see if it helps me keep my weight in a "hey not that big dose of chemo," kind of way.



I went in to wake Colton for his first day of school today and he was up instantly getting ready.  But more surprising, was seeing Nolan bounding up the stairs on his own.  He had set an alarm and needed no prompting from us to get ready.  





I've had several prayer requests for this week.  Please know you can email me (check my profile for address) anytime with a special prayer request.  

I pray when I am folding laundry, brushing the dog, cleaning up the house, or just sitting here, etc.  I'm here, all day, every day.  I'm happy to pray for you, as you've all done for me.  




When you get lucky

When you get lucky

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