“When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don't you do the same?”
I've been stretched in all the usual ways I would want to "wake up and live my life," as Marie-Laure, so aptly states in the book, "All the Light We Cannot See."
While I've regained some of my strength, and some energy, it's a minefield of uncertainty as to when I'll run out, each day. When my breathing becomes labored, when my energy packs up and leaves with little notice, when my legs go stiff and stop working, where will I be?
Feeling confident and energetic one night, Rick and I went for a short walk. I made it all the way down to the end of our street. But the way back? My breath starts shortening, and my lungs hurting, I get so light headed, the edges around me start to fade. Thank goodness I could intertwine my hand in his, and use his stability to propel me forward. I'm learning about "strength," in brand new ways. That some days its leaning, and some day its face-planting in bed, just getting by. And some days, its just about getting up, and trying again. The biggest lessons, seem to arrive in the tiniest moments.
As Ann Voskamp so aptly writes, “Who would ever know the greater graces of comfort and perserverance, mercy and forgiveness, patience and courage, if no shadows fell over a life?”
So I spend my weekend, chemo-nesting. Preparing once again for the upcoming week of appointments, scans and doctor visits. I washed the sheets, the pillows, the tattered comforter, trying to refresh my bed, my place of retreat and refuge. My days get so long, so quiet. I need ways to pass the hours. To quiet my mind as it races forward wondering, how long? How much? And sometimes just, how?
It's Sunday afternoon, and the rain gushes down, shoving our plans to go to the lake on the back burner. The boys are restless, longing for something to do. So we decide to go to dinner. Despite how carefully I've chosen my foods and cut back on calories, I continue to expand with fluid retention, and underneath it all I am deeply craving comfort food.
So I just decide we should go. And even though we're driving on the highway, Nolan should drive- his first time on the highway. We talk about merging, and how to navigate road construction, and I marvel at how he exudes such confidence. He admits to feeling nervous, but does not let it get in his way of performance. We're all being stretched in new ways.
We eat a delicious meal. I'm savoring each bite, as my taste is finally close to normal again for a few days. And we tell funny family stories. Like how Grandpa Jim accidentally fed Colton a big slice of "okra," he thought, except it was a jalapeño pepper and Colton's eyes leaked tears all night long. How the only time I've ever gotten a phone call from Nolan's teacher, was when he was in preschool. He was hugging a cute girl named Ivy- and through my suppressed laughter I agreed to adhere to the new rule, "No, no, no, hugging Ivy." As soon as I laid eyes on Ivy? Well, who wouldn't want to hug that sweet girlie!
We ended our evening with one more spontaneous move. As we headed back towards home, the sun was rapidly going down. Rick swiftly maneuvered our way out of town. It's one of only a few sunsets I've witnessed this summer.
But this is where I find the most life. This is where I live my moments most full. Surrounded by my boys, our arms firmly entrenched around each other, love at the center of it all.
These moments have been much harder for me to cobble together this summer. But I long to keep trying, to find these moments, and live them full.
Tomorrow I have a brain MRI with sedation, after we get the boys off to their first day of school.
Wednesday, I see Dr. Panwalkar, and go over both my PET scan results from last week, and my MRI results from tomorrow. Then off to infusion to round out my day.
I will have ample quiet time again- and so- how can I pray for you?
Will you send me a message? An email? Or leave your request in the comments below?
I covet your prayers in receiving my scan results- please pray for strength in handling whatever is to come our way.
~all shall be well~